To fly, something needs enough thrust to overcome drag and enough lift to overcome weight. (Rich Bishop)

To fly, something needs enough thrust to overcome drag and enough lift to overcome weight. (Rich Bishop)

A steep angle of attack interrupts airflow and lift. (Rich Bishop)

A steep angle of attack interrupts airflow and lift. (Rich Bishop)

Angle of attack refers to how much a wing is tipped forward or backward. (Rich Bishop)

Angle of attack refers to how much a wing is tipped forward or backward. (Rich Bishop)

Thrust works the same for people. Too bad umbrellas don’t work the same as wings! (Rich Bishop)

Thrust works the same for people. Too bad umbrellas don’t work the same as wings! (Rich Bishop)

A duck stalls to land. (Rich Bishop)

A duck stalls to land. (Rich Bishop)

Everything That Flies

Posted: September 1, 2020

Fruit flies and jumbo jets obey the same rules of nature that God set down at the creation of the world.

A fruit fly weighs as much as a grain of sugar. Its wings barely cover the head of a pin. A Boeing 747 airliner weighs 500 billion times more than a fruit fly. Its wings are 250 million times larger. But both are able to fly because they follow the rules of flight.

Those rules say that to fly, ­something needs enough thrust to overcome drag. And it needs enough lift to overcome weight.

Wing area is the amount of space a wing takes up when viewed from above. The wing must be large enough to carry the weight of the body of whatever is flying. That goes for the body of a June bug as well as the body of a  jet airliner.

Anything that flies must make airspeed or thrust. That could come from the jet engine of a Boeing 747. Or thrust could come from the flapping wings of a hummingbird.

Angle of attack refers to how much a wing is tipped forward or backward.

If a plane or a bird has the right airspeed and wing angle it will have lift. Did you know that most flying things use about the same wing angle—six degrees? It is the best angle for keeping a plane in flight. It’s also the best angle for the wings of a seabird.

If wing angle is too steep and airspeed is too slow, a plane will stall. Stalling means lift is no ­longer being created.

Stalling sometimes causes a plane to crash.

Does that mean that God’s laws of nature are bad?

No. The same laws of aerodynamics that cause stalling are the laws that make possible all the blessings of flight.

And besides, birds need to be able to stall. Did you know that birds actually use stalling to land successfully?